Off page search engine optimization (SEO) is a collective term used to refer to any technique applied to ensure that a website ranks highly on search engines. Although most people assume that it involves link building, there’s more to off page SEO than meets the eye. Generally speaking, any promotion method beyond a website that helps its rank on search engine results pages (SERPs) constitutes off page search SEO. Social media marketing is one such method.
Read on to learn more:
INTRODUCTION TO SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Search engine optimization is the set of processes and strategies designed to optimize websites for search engines. Through SEO, anyone can attract high-quality visitors from these engines. It also makes a website more credible especially when its user-friendliness is improved.
Today, popular search engines have taken to using sophisticated algorithm while determining the pages they will index, as well as the order they will show these pages in their search results.
Therefore, to succeed at SEO, you must speak to search engines in a language they can easily understand. Start by providing them with as much useful information about your site as you can gather.
RELATED: SEO Strategies That Work in 2017
That said, you can effect SEO through:
- ON PAGE SEO
These are the settings applied to a website to ensure it is well optimized so that it appears on the first page of Google and other search engines. To perform on-page SEO, you should:
– Add user-friendly 404 pages
– Add working external links directing to high-quality websites
– Ensure your visitors have an easy time navigating through your website by adding user sitemaps and breadcrumbs
– Ensure your web pages load fast
– Format your text using headers, text sizes, bolding, italicizing, and so on
– Make your website mobile friendly
– Only use high quality, authoritative, and fresh content
– Optimize all internal links
– Optimize images with the right sizes, names, and ALT tags
– Optimize your website’s descriptions and titles
– Use proper URL structures
- OFF PAGE SEO
Off page SEO, on the other hand, happens beyond your website. The best strategies here include:
– Link Building
– Social Media Marketing
– Social bookmarking
You’ll learn more about these later on. However, you first need to understand the importance of off-page SEO, as well as the benefits you are going to derive from it.
The Importance of Off-Page SEO
Search engines are primarily concerned with providing the highest quality, most actionable results to people who use them to search for content, information, and so on. To make this happen, they review websites based on the onsite SEO factors that we described above, off page SEO and some other quality factors.
Through off-page SEO, you can indicate to search engines how you would like visitors to view your website. More particularly, search engines will be able to tell how users, visitors, and other websites perceive your site.
A useful website which is of high quality is likely to have links (references) from other similarly-placed websites. It is also going to be mentioned severally on different social media platforms. It is at this stage that social media marketing comes in through likes on Facebook, Tweets, Google +1s, Pins, and so on.
Similarly, such a website is likely to be shared more and bookmarked by communities of users with the same interests.
Benefits of Off-Site SEO
If your off-site SEO strategy is on point, it will generate benefits for you. These benefits include, but are not limited to:
i) Higher Rank
Your website will be ranked highly, meaning that you will start getting more traffic.
PageRank, ranging from 0 to 10, is a number that indicates how relevant a website is to search engines like Google. Invented by Google’s founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, it is used to show relevant results to anyone who searches for content on Google.
Today, page rank is one of the many other factors used by search engines to rank websites on SERPs.
Engaging in an active off page SEO campaign will greatly expose your website. Once your site starts ranking highly, it will attract more mentions on social media, more visits, and more backlinks.
This exposure will be a ceaseless sequence of events with one thing leading to another, and so on.
Consider the following facets of off page SEO:
- LINK BUILDING
At the moment, building links is one of the most efficient off page SEO strategies you can adopt. Through it, you will build external links going back to your site. By so doing, it will like you are trying to attract as many votes as possible – with the primary goal of ranking highly and bypassing all your competitors.
For instance, if you like this guide and reference it to your blog or website, then you will be informing search engines that my page provides high-quality content.
Since SEO started being a thing, webmasters and online marketers have been building links to their blogs and websites to attract higher ranks. Some even came up with different tips that you could use to increase the link count on your site.
These strategies include:
i) Blog Directories
Not unlike yellow pages, blog directories had entries with links redirecting the user back to a particular website/web page.
ii) Forum Signatures
Some people commented on popular forums so that they could add a link back to their site when they signed off.
iii) Comment Link
Similar to forum signatures, forum links had you commenting on another blog/website and adding a link to your site. You could even replace your real name with a clickable keyword – such as “Comment by How to Work Online” instead of “comment by John Doe.”
iv) Article Directories
Another strategy involved publishing high-quality content in article directories while ensuring that there were links inside the article pointing back to your site.
v) Shared Content Directories
Websites like infobarrel and hubpages allowed webmasters to publish content free of charge. In return, you could include links within these articles to direct people to your site.
vi) Link Exchange
Link exchange involved partnerships between webmasters for the sole purpose of exchanging links. In other cases, some webmasters used the 3-way system by linking to the other party’s website on your site/blog and having the other party link to your website from a different site.
I have described these strategies in the past tense because not only are they outdated, they also don’t work anymore. As such, you should not attempt them if you are serious about your off page SEO.
When you try tricking search engines with unnatural links, they might end up penalizing your website with lower rankings.
A Word on Black Hat SEO
Through link building, webmasters could easily manipulate algorithms on search engines. It allowed spammers to build link networks, which is how black hat SEO was born.
Today, Google is smarter about black hat techniques. They even went so far as to introduce Panda, Hummingbird, and Penguin – which are the names used for every subsequent Google Algorithm release. By so doing, Google has solved the problem and ensured that it protects its search engine results from spammers.
Although some exceptions to these rules work, Google is working on new algorithms meaning that black hat SEO will no longer work to your website’s advantage.
Follow and NoFollow Links
Apart from the above strategies, search engines came up with a new solution to provide webmasters with the space to link to websites without passing link juice in the process, and so the nofollow link was born.
Essentially, nofollow links are unique tags that webmasters can add to a link to request search engines NOT to count the particular link as a vote of trust to the referenced website. An example of these tags would be <a href=https://www.websitexyz.com rel=”nofollow”>Website XYZ</a>.
Through this solution, webmasters can now safely put up links to other websites without risking Google penalizing your site for link exchange and sale.
As a general rule, you should ALWAYS add the nofollow tag to every external link used in your pages – especially if you are not 100% sure that you can trust the website. You should also use this link when you post comment links, blogroll links, and banner ad links to other websites.
The Best Link Strategy
That said, understanding what comprises a good link will help your off page SEO and raise your ranks on search engines. For starters, you must realize that link building for SEO depends on both the quantity and quality of the links you use.
As such, the number of links pointing back to your website no longer matters. What is more important, however, is where these links originate. To further expound, links from ordinary blogs do not carry as much weight as links from a popular website such as the New York Times.
So, how do you attract these kinds of links? Google says that links point back to your site need to be as natural as possible. Although this seems like another one of the many off page SEO myths out there, it does work.
However, for you to arrive at this point, you have to work hard. If a blog attracts tons of incoming links, it is probably because other webmasters and social media users find that the quality of the content is high, and the message conveyed is interesting. The blog, you’ll discover, probably also adds original links to other websites because the webmaster running it finds their content actionable and useful to its visitors.
To this end, natural link building is the use of links that are valuable to readers and not just to search engines. The best strategy, therefore, would be to try attracting links only by publishing content that other people will want to link to within their sites.
- SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Apart from link building, you also need to engage in social media marketing for off page SEO. Interestingly, with regards to social media, every link you get from these websites is nofollow. However, this is not to say that they are of no value to your overall search engine optimization strategy.
Mentions on social media have gained ground as search engine ranking factors. Similarly, you can boost your SEO by properly configuring your social media profiles. For instance, if you run a website that sells shoes, you must ensure that all your profiles, pages, and accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Snapchat, and any other social media website are professionally formatted.
A Word on Social Bookmarking
Although social bookmarking used to be popular, it no longer holds such gravitas. However, it is another one of the strategies you can adopt to attract traffic to a website or blog.
To effect this, you must first know your niche. Then, look for sites like delicious.com, scoop.it, stumbleupon.com, or reddit.com and use them for promoting your content.
In the greater scheme of things, both on-site and off page SEO are equally important to helping your website rank highly on SERPs. If you wish to engage in a proactive SEO campaign, therefore, you should use a combination of all the strategies available to you – both in the on page and in the off page SEO realms.
With regards to link building, resist the temptation to take the easy way out. Instead, work hard to provide high-quality content that is actionable and useful to your visitors. In time, you’ll naturally attract links even from hard-to-get websites, forums, and blogs. Remember, links that are difficult to get also tend to provide the highest value.
On social media marketing, there are a thousand tips to help you out. As long as you are actively engaged on social media, you talk to other people through your profiles, and you share high-quality content that will help even one of them improve their lives, it is likely that your off page SEO will soon start working in your favor.
Over and above everything else, you should just forget about link building. Instead, focus your efforts and energies on having a great website, promoting it on social media, and working towards providing value to your followers/users/visitors. Everything else you are hoping for will naturally follow from this strategy.